Story by Taylor Rivers / Contributing Writer
Photos by NME
Kings of Leon’s newly released album, “When You See Yourself,” is the mellowed tune we didn’t know we needed this year.
Hailed as the southern version of The Strokes and U2, the folk-rock band was dealing with a lot of pressure to produce an album that would serve as a musical saving grace for a world still wading in the tiresome effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The woeful album has captured a nostalgic noise and rock-ballad that is specifically unique to their band.
Aside from its catchy rhythms and melodic riffs that uniquely sets them apart from others, the band’s new album also made history when it was released on Friday: it is the first album that can be purchased with a non-fungible token (NFT), a form of cryptocurrency that holds tickets and music instead of monetary funds.
In a world where several musical artists now find their work being cheapened and watered down by for-profit streaming services, this new concept helps artists fight back against the devaluing of their work.
NFT’s are also a way for artists to generate revenue in a concert-less era of social distancing.
Leading up to the release date, Kings of Leon released two singles: “The Bandit” and “100,000 People.”
“The Bandit” is more rock-heavy, with strong guitar riffs and powerful vocals. This single was released on Jan. 7 and has accumulated over 8 million listens across platforms.
The song’s lyrics, “And they’re walking around with their heads screaming / Must catch the bandit” represent the stolen happiness that they’re trying hard to get back, which is reflective of the album’s overall melancholy ambiance.
“100,000 People” is a sorrowful song, with a familiar ‘80s tempo that’s followed by soft vocals and aching guitar riffs. Lead singer and guitarist Caleb Followill implements personal and intimate elements within the song. In an interview with Apple Music, Caleb discusses the impact of his father-in-law’s dementia diagnosis. The “100,000” people represent the different and hard interactions he’s had with people.
Different from their usual soft-rock, “A Wave” and “Time in Disguise” take a slow and steady approach, with the former beginning as a piano piece with whispery lyrics that eventually crescendos into an upbeat ballad.
The album also contains extremely mellowing hues of tranquility that’s out of character even for the soft-rock band– “Supermarket” contains sunny, beach-wave tones, much like Weezr and The Bahamas.
“Claire and Eddie” represents national issues, and boldly takes a political stance. The repeated line “Fire’s gonna rage if people don’t change” is one of many that point to the current issue of climate change.
Additionally, lyrics from “Echoing” are reminiscent of the prolonged quarantining and isolation periods that humanity has sustained throughout the course of the pandemic:
Waking early in the morning, waiting on the light of day
Whole new kind of feeling is on the way
I’m not scared of knowing If we’re ever getting out
We could be here forever without a doubt
The song hits close to home for the Nashville-based band– they were unfortunately not immune from the effects of the pandemic. Like most bands, they have suffered from the lack of revenue, and their new album was originally supposed to be released last year.
“Fairytale” closes the album with a hopeful tune: Followill says that he hopes this song inspires like the work of Tom Petty or The Velvet Underground.
Each song offers something different in this album; altogether, its soft-beats combined with powerful guitars and vocals make this album a worthwhile listen.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Ashley Barrientos, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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